RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Having spend a bit too much money in recent trips to Paris & Copenhagen (more on that coming this week on Cake + Whisky!), I decided to put myself on a spending ban for a little while.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

But looking’s not spending, and the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is the perfect excuse to indulge in a spot of window shopping.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Returning for its seventh year, the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is an annual showcase of innovative architectural shop window display.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Some of Regent Street’s leading retailers, including Liberty, Kiel’s and Kate Spade, have collaborated with RIBA’s finest emerging and established RIBA Chartered architects to create a series of stunning windows with an architectural twist.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This year’s windows reflect the versatility and ingenuity of the architects in creating new and fresh designs that build on each brand’s history and vision.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Liberty’s windows, designed by Architecture Social Club, tells a modern tale of the store’s founder’s story.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a play on the brand’s iconic floral patterns and a plethora of details, it’s one of the most stunning displays I’ve seen in years. and definitely worth taking a detour when you’re next in the area!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a special appearance of Sir Arthur himself, his marble bust having been moved from its usual pedestal for the occasion!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Kate Spade’s display, imagined by Design Haus Liberty, is a play on the iconic golden dots & black and white stripes present in many of the brand’s collections.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

The perfect playful-yet-sophisticated background for the brand’s newest baby, the Cameron Street Byrdie bag!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Down the street, architecture firm Bureau de Change pays hommage to suit-and-shirt specialist brand Charles Tyrwhitt’s craftmanship.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Including wooden replicas of the brand’s patterns, the window is a salute to its expertise and width of product, ranging from shirts, to suits, ties, and even shoes!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Across the street, Kiehl’s window is a work of love & patience.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dozens of handmade china ‘petals’, assembled to ressemble a quinoa husk (quinoa being the active ingredient in Kiehl’s new Night Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate).

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

A unique collaboration, and a lot of work indeed, but the result’s well worth the effort.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

And that from every possible angle…

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And it would be rude not to pop in & say Hi to Mr Bones (and possibly try this revolutionary quinoa elixir for yourself when you’re at it!)

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With ten unique windows blending contemporary architecture, innovative art & design practices, the RIBA Regent Street Window Project is a showcase for some of London’s finest emerging architects.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

RIBA Regent Street Windows installations will be on display from Monday, 5th September for a three week period until Sunday, 25th September, so that leaves you plenty of time to plan your own Christmas-window-shopping before Christmas tour!

Double brownie points if you manage to get some actual Christmas shopping done while you’re at it!

Visit architecture.com/windows for the full programme of events and a free walking map to download

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RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

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RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Lumiere London 2016

Last weekend, Londoners and visitors were invited to see the city in a new light with Lumiere London, the biggest-ever light festival to hit the capital.

Produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London, a host of international artists illuminated four of London’s most iconic areas: King’s Cross, Mayfair, Piccadilly and Westminster, creating opportunities to see iconic architecture transformed with 3D projections, interactive installations and other extraordinary light works.

There was so much to see we didn’t managed to cover it all, but what we did see was so gorgeous I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This giant, neon-lit birdcage has been a KX feature for a while, to the delight of art enthousiastic and kids-at-heart (there’s a swing in the cage’s centre!).

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Joining the Dots by Cleary Connolly clever video installation inspired by the work of psychophysicist Gunnar Johansson on how the mind can perceive the human body.

Very much in tune with its environment, using the newly-opened German Gym as its backdrop!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dresses by Tae Gon Kim

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Beautiful, shimmering dresses frozen in London shop windows. One of my favourite pieces.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Circus of Life by Ocubo

Featuring acrobats, jugglers, dancers and performers, as well as the faces of some of the people who live, work, or play in King’s Cross.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Which, judging by the crowds, seemed to have made it a popular piece.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Or maybe we were just all there for the tea…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

I Haven’t Changed My Mind in a Thousand Years by Beth J Ross

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Bringing the wisdom of the past to the present.

A welcome bit of a modern clash with the very fancy Piccadilly Arcade (where change of heart over a Rollex or a diamond necklace happen far too often!)

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Les Voyageurs by Cédric Le Borgne

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Sitting on rooftops, frozen mid-air in flight, they invite you to glance up and around, offering the possibility of connection between dream and reality.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

It sure got me dreaming of flying away to Neverland ( and I might also have sung a little bit…)

You can fly, you can fly, you can flyyyyyyyyyy!!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

From the home of the Royal Society of Watercolour Paintings to that of the prestigious BAFTA nowadays, the stunning building at 195 Piccadilly is a fascinating piece of London’s architectural history.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Even more so when arts manages to combine past and present and explore the different genres of cinema and television.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Brightly coloured “dancing” fish, floating and swooping through the air. Simply beautiful.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Shaida Walking. 2015 by Julian Opie

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Yet one more art piece projecting Carnaby at the front of London’s street art scene.

And last but not least…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Strung between buildings at Oxford Circus, this enormous net sculpture is named after onf of the astonishing impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Such was the strength of the vibrations that the earthquake momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened that day by 1.8 microseconds.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Using data from NASA, Studio Echelman turned this phenomenon into this wonderful interactive piece of art.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Proof is you ever needed one of how beautiful science is.

And a truly brilliant way to start 2016 indeed!

Lumiere London 2016

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery

Two Cs are always better than one, so Chanel is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to haute couture.

Creating one icone after the other, all stamped with the brand’s double C logo, the French fashion house is one I’ve always been fascinated about.

So after watching hours of documentary and movies, there was no way on Earth I’d miss the Mademoiselle Privé exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

Early on Saturday morning, I met my friend Ilaria on Sloane Square.

Coffee in one hand and smartphone in the other, I was ready for a journey through the origins of Chanel‘s creations.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

My jaw dropped as we entered the building and pretty much stayed down there the whole time.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + WhiskyMademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

The enchanted journey through the house’s creativity first took us through a reconstitution of Coco Chanel‘s iconic apartment and shop of 21 rue Cambon.

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In the next room, black and white drawings give some insight into the brand’s first steps.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

From the world-famous logo combining two interlaced Cs and a wheat pattern…

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…to Mademoiselle Coco’s inspiration for the sportive, casual chic clothing she was the first to make popular.

Quickly after this, the brand grew in popularity and turned towards high fashion, but Chanel’s influence quickly extended far beyond couture clothing.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

In 1920, Gabrielle Chanel commissioned the creation of a perfume to Russian-French chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

Mademoiselle Coco always had potent association for the number 5, so when presented with small glass vials containing sample scent compositions numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24 for her assessment, she chose the fifth vial and decided to let this sample number five keep the name it has already “for good luck”.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

Chanel no. 5 has been chosen as a signature scent by millions of modern, elegant women ever since.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

In 1932, Coco Chanel also designed her first and only jewellery collection, “Bijoux de Diamants“.

My favourite part of the Mademoiselle Privé exhibition though? The one focusing on the the House’s essential symbols.

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The Camellia flower and the pearls.

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The Venitian Moor.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

The Black Line.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

The Wheat.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

The golden chain and, more recently, Greek pop.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + WhiskyMademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

Just as iconic are Chanel’s signature ‘petite veste’ tweet and knowledge of tailoring.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

But the part all of London’s fashionista made a beeline for?

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

The gorgeous gowns of course!

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Rows after rows of sublime, black lace creations.

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With a bit of bling and feather here and there…

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

And how gorgeous is this hand-embroidered beauty? ?

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

It was only fitting we finished our visit by paying our respect to the very people who created that golden wonder; the Ateliers Lessage.

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + WhiskyMademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

We didn’t get to experience their know-how first hand but spend quite a while starring at those who did!

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery | Cake + Whisky

If you’re as interested in fashion and its history as I am, you absolutely MUST go see Mademoiselle Privé. It’ll be at the Saatchi gallery until November 1st and it’s every inch as classy and fabulous as it says on the box!

Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery

Le Méridien Piccadilly Afternoon Tea and Unlock London by RIBAPix

Having Afternoon Tea has been at the very top of my London Bucket List for quite a while now.

I mean, what is there not to love about a meal that’s basically cake, with a few bits around it?

Nothing. My point exactly.

So when Le Méridien Piccadilly and The Royal Institute of British Architects asked if I’d like to join them for a cake-and-scone-fuelled presentation of their current collaboration, a London-centric, architecture pictures exibition named Unlock London, I could barely stopped jumping all over the place (I was THAT close to add heart-eyed emojis to the RSVP email to be honest…)!

But is there any better reason to get overexcited than the prospect of a few of my favourite things (architecture pictures, bloggers and errrrr… cake!) all in one room?

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Le Méridien Terrace Grill & Bar is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen. Nestled on the second floor of the landmark Piccadilly hotel, there’s so much to love about it, starting with the incredible glass ceiling.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

The very well-stocked bar must certainly be another (and I heard the terrace itself is one of the best places for a drink come summer…) but I’ll have to leave those for another day.  

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

For the time being, I was far too busy contemplating the three-tiered platter that had just been put in front of me…

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Luckily I wasn’t the only blogger in the room and nobody touched a thing until we all took pictures to our heart’s content!

Then it was time for a London-inspired feast!

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Starting with tea (obviously).

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

The Jing selection available at Le Méridien is both impressive and interesting and it left many in our group wondering which one they should go for.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

But I knew it’d have to go for the Whole Rosebud tea as it is one of my favourites and it’s not often you actually find it on a tea menu!

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Next came a selection of finger sandwiches (of which my favourite had to be the Smoked salmon one)

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Then there were scones (both plain and with raisins).

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

And clotted cream of course.

Since I’m quite a newbie at that whole afternoon tea ritual, I obviously had no clue as to what the proper order to pile cream and jam up was, but thanksfully, I had an expert sitting right by my side.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

We debated on the topic for a little while before deciding that jam on top was more Instagramable (definitely a word) and all embrassed our new-found less-than-traditional way to eat scones!

But the best was still to come!

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

The cakes!

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

A whole platter of them, even! 

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

The ‘Helen of Troy’ poppy seed cake (considered to be the most beautiful cake of the 1930s) was definitely the prettiest of the bunch.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

But if you want to win my heart, there’s no better way than a few of Traditional Bakewell tarts!

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

After indulging in all those treats, we learnt a bit more about the exibition that inspired them all: Unlock London.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

The exibition showcases a selection of stunning photographs from the 1.5 million held in the Royal Institute of British Architects’ massive picture library (which is now available to browse online! ?).

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

Left: St Pancras Station, Euston Road, London (1949) | Right: Paramount & Plaza cinema, Lower Regent Street, London (1968)

Taken by leading architectural photographers from the 1930s to 1960s, these images show iconic London landmarks as well as some less well known or long since vanished.

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLeft: Leisure Kitchen Equipment, Regent Street, London (1954) | Right: Night street cleaning near St Paul’s Cathedral, City of London (1957)Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyEscalator, St John’s Wood London Underground Station, Wellington Road, London (1940)Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskySt Pancras Station, Euston Road, London (1949)

Last but not least, we went on a little tour of the hotel, which ended up in the lovely Oak RoomLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyPowder pink from the floor to the ceiling with touches of gold here and there, it’s a little girl’s dream come true. Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyBut we were not there to play dolls! Instead, we had a bit of a photography workshop.

After picking our favourite from a selection, we had to give architectural photography a go while trying to explore angles, lighting, reflection…

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyLe Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + Whisky

I went for a bit of a darker take of the pink room to try and get details to pop up…

Le Méridien x RIBA Afternoon Tea | Cake + WhiskyAnd ended up discovering that chair backs might very well be your best friend when trying to frame architectural details…

Tea, cake, bloggers and fun; very much my kind of afternoon!

Want to experience Le Méridien Piccadilly’s Afternoon Tea for yourself (and take a look at those stunning pictures when you’re at it)?

What about you say you’re coming from me and bag yourself a 20% discount in the process and send me cake pictures on Instagram? Deal?

Unlock London at Le Méridien Piccadilly, 21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH
Terrace Grill & Bar - Le Meridien Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Le Méridien Piccadilly Afternoon Tea and Unlock London by RIBAPix